The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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In Buddhism, a bodhisattva (Sanskrit: बोधिसत्त्व bodhisattva; Pali: बोधिसत्त Bodhisatta) is either an Enlightened (Bodhi) existence (sattva) or an Enlightenment-being or, given the variant Sanskrit spelling satva rather than sattva, "heroic-minded one (satva) for Enlightenment (Bodhi)."
The Pali term has sometimes been translated as "Wisdom-being," although in modern publications, and especially in tantric works, this is more commonly reserved for the term jñānasattva ("awareness-being"; Tib. ཡེ་ཤེས་སེམས་དཔའ་, Wyl. ye shes sems dpa’).
The term "Bodhisatta" (Pāli Language) was used by The Buddha in the Pāli Canon to refer to himself both in his previous lives and as a young man in his current Life, prior to his Enlightenment, in the period during which he was working towards his own Liberation.
In the Pāli Canon, the Bodhisatta is also described as someone who is still subject to birth, illness, Death, sorrow, defilement, and Delusion. Some of the previous lives of The Buddha as a bodhisattva are featured in the Jātaka tales.
- before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened Bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging... illness... Death... sorrow... defilement, I sought (happiness in] what was likewise subject to illness... Death... sorrow... defilement.
While Maitreya (Pāli: Metteya) is mentioned in the Pāli Canon, he is not referred to as a bodhisattva, but simply the next fully Awakened Buddha to come into existence long after the current teachings of The Buddha are lost.
the paccekabodhisatta who will attain Paccekabuddhahood, and the savakabodhisatta who will attain Enlightenment as a Disciple of a Buddha. According to the Theravāda teacher Bhikkhu Bodhi the bodhisattva path was not taught by Buddha .
Theravadin Bhikku and scholar Walpola Rahula Sri Rahula Maha Thera) has stated that the Bodhisattva ideal has traditionally been held to be higher than the state of a śrāvaka not only in Mahāyāna, but also in Theravāda Buddhism.
He also quotes an inscription from the 10th Century king of Sri Lanka, Mahinda IV (956-972 CE) who had the words inscribed "none but the Bodhisattvas would become kings of Sri Lanka", among other examples.
- There is a wide-spread belief, particularly in the West, that the ideal of the Theravada, which they conveniently identify with Hinayana, is to become an Arahant while that of the Mahayana is to become a Bodhisattva and finally to attain the state of a Buddha.
It must be categorically stated that this is incorrect.
This idea was spread by some early Orientalists at a time when Buddhist studies were beginning in the West, and the others who followed them accepted it without taking the trouble to go into the problem by examining the texts and living traditions in Buddhist countries.
- Cholvijarn observes that prominent figures associated with the Self perspective in Thailand have often been famous outside scholarly circles as well, among the wider populace, as Buddhist Meditation masters and sources of miracles and sacred amulets.
Like perhaps some of the early Mahāyāna forest hermit Monks, or the later Buddhist Tantrics, they have become people of Power through their Meditative achievements. They are widely revered, worshipped, and held to be Arhats or (note!) Bodhisattvas.
The Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra contains a simple and brief definition for the term bodhisattva, which is also the earliest known Mahāyāna definition. This definition is given as the following.
With these vows, one makes the promise to work for the complete Enlightenment of all Sentient beings by practicing the six perfections. Indelibly entwined with the Bodhisattva Vow is Merit transference (pariṇāmanā).
A bodhisattva is one who has a determination to free Sentient beings from Samsara and its cycle of Death, Rebirth and Suffering. This type of Mind is known as the Mind of Awakening (Bodhicitta). Bodhisattvas take bodhisattva vows in order to progress on the Spiritual path towards Buddhahood.
- king-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to become Buddha as soon as possible and then help Sentient beings in full fledge;
- boatman-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to achieve Buddhahood along with other Sentient beings and
- shepherd-like bodhisattva - one who aspires to delay Buddhahood until all other Sentient beings achieve Buddhahood. Bodhisattvas like Avalokiteśvara and Śāntideva are believed to fall in this category.
- In reality, the second two types of Bodhicitta are wishes that are impossible to fulfill because it is only possible to lead others to Enlightenment once we have attained Enlightenment ourself.
The Nyingma school, however, holds that the lowest level is the way of the king, who primarily seeks his own benefit but who recognizes that his benefit depends crucially on that of his kingdom and his subjects.
Below is the list of the Ten bhūmis and their descriptions according to the Avataṃsaka Sūtra and The Jewel Ornament of Liberation, a treatise by Gampopa, an influential teacher of the Tibetan Kagyu school.
(Other schools give slightly variant descriptions.)
- Bhūmi 1 the path of Insight
- bhūmis 2-7 the path of Meditation
- bhūmis 8-10 the path of no more learning
- Great Joy: It is said that being close to Enlightenment and seeing the benefit for all Sentient beings, one achieves great Joy, hence the name. In this Bhūmi the Bodhisattvas practice all perfections (Pāramitās), but especially emphasizing Generosity (Dāna).
- Stainless]: In accomplishing the second Bhūmi, the bodhisattva is free from the stains of immorality, therefore, this Bhūmi is named "stainless". The emphasized perfection is Moral Discipline (śīla).
- Luminous: The third Bhūmi is named "luminous", because, for a bodhisattva who accomplishes this Bhūmi, the Light of Dharma is said to radiate for others from the bodhisattva. The emphasized perfection is Patience (kṣānti).
- Radiant: This Bhūmi is called "radiant", because it is said to be like a radiating Light that fully burns that which opposes Enlightenment. The emphasized perfection is vigor (Vīrya).
- Very difficult to train: Bodhisattvas who attain this Bhūmi strive to help Sentient beings attain maturity, and do not become emotionally involved when such beings respond negatively, both of which are difficult to do. The emphasized perfection is Meditative Concentration (Dhyāna).
- Obviously Transcendent: By depending on the perfection of Wisdom, [the bodhisattva) does not abide in either Saṃsāra or Nirvāṇa, so this state is "obviously transcendent". The emphasized perfection is Wisdom (prajñā).
- Gone afar: Particular emphasis is on the perfection of skillful means (upāya), to help others.
- Immovable: The emphasized Virtue is aspiration. This, the "immovable" Bhūmi, is the Bhūmi at which one becomes able to choose his place of Rebirth.
- Good Discriminating Wisdom: The emphasized Virtue is Power.
- Cloud of Dharma: The emphasized Virtue is the practice of primordial Wisdom.
For example, Tibetan Buddhists believe in various forms of Chenrezig, who is Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit, Guanyin (Kwan-yin or Kuan-Yin) in China and Korea, Quan Am in Vietnam, and Kannon (formerly spelled and pronounced: Kwannon) in Japan.
- If I do not go to the Hell to help the Suffering beings there, who else will go? ... if the hells are not empty I will not become a Buddha. Only when all living beings have been saved, will I attain Bodhi.
the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings and also wishes to bring them to that state. It also refers to a sublime bodhisattva who has attained one of the ten stages of the bodhisattva path.
The Bodhisattva Path
They are motivated by bodhichitta, which has as its focus all sentient beings and is characterized by the wish to establish them all at the level of perfect buddhahood, free from the causes and effects of suffering and endowed with all the causes and effects of happiness.
Concerning the basis of their path, how they determine the view, if we speak in terms of philosophical tenets, the approach of Mind Only is to assert that outer objects are not real and all phenomena are but the inner mind, and to claim that the self-aware, self-knowing consciousness devoid of dualistic perception is truly real.
They attain the level of buddhahood, which is the ultimate attainment in terms of both abandonment and realization since it means abandoning all that has to be eliminated, the two obscurations including habitual traces,
and realizing everything that must be realized, included within the knowledge of all that there is and the knowledge of its nature. They accomplish the two types of dharmakaya for their own benefit and the two types of rupakaya for the benefit of others.
In mahayana Buddhism, a Bodhisattva is a being who seeks buddhahood through the systematic practice of the perfect virtues (paramitas) but who renounces complete entry into nirvana until all beings are saved.
Some Bodhisattvas are with you every day and may appear as an ordinary being.
In contrast with the Hinayana ideal embodied by the voice-hearers and cause-awakened ones who direct their efforts solely toward personal salvation, Mahayana sets forth the ideal of the bodhisattva who seeks enlightenment both for self and others, even postponing one's entry into nirvana in order to lead others to that goal.
The six paramitas are
Some sutras divide bodhisattva practice into fifty-two stages, ranging from initial resolution to the attainment of enlightenment. Bodhisattva practice was generally thought to require successive lifetimes spanning many kalpas to complete.
Great Bodhisattva Hachiman is an example of this.In terms of the concept of the Ten Worlds, the world of bodhisattvas constitutes the ninth of the Ten Worlds, describing a state characterized by compassion in which one seeks enlightenment both for oneself and others.